Don’t Let Your Project Become Vapor Ware!

I recently came across an article from Wired Magazine called Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem . I was pretty blown away by it. The author told the story of the latest in development version of the video game  Duke Nukem and how despite 12 years of work it will never be released! For someone who casually follows the news in the electronic gaming industry Duke Nukem Forever has been the butt of many jokes, being constantly labeled as vapor ware but still to be 12 years in development with millions spent to not release even a mini game at the end of it all is pretty intense.

C/O Go Gaming Giant

So What Happened? Duke Nukem  a game known for its humor and quality as a First person shooter built a loyal fan base over the years with the latest game at the time being Duke Nukem 3d for the PS1 and N64 (1997). Lead by 3d Realms co-owner George Brousard , the studio aimed to make the best game of the series. Unfortunately with graphics technology constantly changing  Brousard and his team battled with having the most up to date graphics and effects for the game and quickly began pushing back their set release date year after year from their initial one of  of 1998 . After 12 long years and constant graphic engine changes and changes in the game itself this striving for a perfect game ended up killing it in May 2009.

Lessons Learned: Like Digital Realms we all want to deliver great work and are driven perhaps to far for what we perceive as perfection. With no solid launch date Duke Nukem Forever got passed over by many blockbuster games such as Halo, Mass Effect and Gears of War (among many others) who have in the same time span delivered even sequels. Had the developers set a solid deadline , they wouldn’t have had to constantly play catch up to all of these great titles. Instead they could have built a name for themselves.

Rather than  giving yourself a wide open time period to complete your projects, set a solid deadline where regardless of where you are at you’ll decide whether to send it out or move on to the next project. You will always find areas to improve or things that could be different, instead of driving yourself mad with an ideal of ‘perfection’ take your ideas for changes and apply it to your next project.  This way you can not only see the success of one project but you can continue to grow and develop your skills in the next.

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